By Andrew Wright published
Tiger Woods and his son Charlie had to settle for a runner-up finish at the PNC Championship, losing out to Team Daly by two shots despite setting a new birdie record en route to a closing 15-under-par round.
The big story ahead of the fun-filled parent-child tournament was how the game’s biggest star would fare on his first competitive outing since suffering serious right leg and ankle injuries in February’s LA car crash.
It’s safe to say the 15-time major champion answered every question and then some, as he and his 12-year-old son wowed all those who tuned in with 13 birdies and an eagle in a bogey-free 57 to post a clubhouse target of 25-under.
A day full of memories for Team Woods. ❤️Tiger and Charlie finish solo 2nd @PNCChampionship. pic.twitter.com/ApNpht9SkhDecember 19, 2021
And although a closing par at the long 18th all but put paid to any realistic hopes of a fairytale comeback win, Tiger was understandably delighted just to be out there after coming close to losing his right leg.
“I’m just happy and thankful that I’m able to do this,” Tiger told the Golf Channel’s Steve Sands after signing his card. “I still have my old leg which was questionable for a while and it’s functioning. I’m just really tired, I’m not used to this. I think this is my fourth or fifth round of golf this year, I’m a little worn out and it was nice to have a cart.
“The fact I had my son there who’s an unbelievable player and unbelievable partner. We had a great strategy going in, especially after we played the practice round on Friday. I thought we were going to be in there. Our whole goal was never to make a bogey for the two days like we did last year, we made two, and we didn’t make any.
“We thought we were probably going to have to birdie every hole on that back nine - or at least eight out of nine - to have a chance and it turned out to be that way. We got to the last hole and we were on a run and even though we were on a run, we probably still needed a three to maybe get into a play-off or to at least make it interesting for the Dalys.
“But what a blast it was, I mean playing with Kuch and his son, Cam, we just had a blast all day.”
Dressed in Sunday red, Team Woods got off to a lightning start, opening with two birdies and an eagle at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando to take the outright lead momentarily, before losing some momentum with three consecutive pars. However, that would prompt an emphatic response as Tiger and Charlie set the course alight with 11 consecutive birdies, eclipsing the previous record of seven in the Texas Scramble event.
Among the barrage there were, of course, some stellar highlight-reel moments, perhaps most notably Charlie’s tee shot into the demanding par-3 17th, which led to an 11th birdie in a row as he and Dad continued their Sunday charge.
Watching in awe. 😲11 birdies in a row for Team Woods. pic.twitter.com/iIP9S4UDOZDecember 19, 2021
But it was a case of punch and counter-punch as the team of John Daly and John Daly II added a closing 57 of their own to Saturday’s 60, giving them their first PNC Championship victory.
“Yesterday was all him,” Daly Snr said, “I putted so bad. I felt like I gave him some better lines today and I finally hit some decent shots into some of the holes so we both just played great. He played unbelievable yesterday and I played a little better today, so I made him [Daly Jnr] happy."
Asked how much the win means, the two time-major winner added: “It’s family, it’s family for everybody. It’s great to see all the families coming out to see us play and it’s one of the highlights of my life forever. To be able to play in a PGA Tour event with your son and win, it’s pretty dang special.”
Overnight leaders Stewart and Reagan Cink ended in a tie for third alongside defending champions Justin and Mike Thomas, with Woods taking some consolation from claiming bragging rights over the Thomas family.
The big talking point going forward, however, will be on what the future holds for Tiger. Although he looked a little stiff at times and walked a tad gingerly in places, there's no question this two-day showing exceeded everyone's expectations.
But while we all try to predict his next move amid grand notions that he'll be back to something like his best in 2022, the man himself was once again keen to stress that the road ahead remains long.
"I'm not at that level," the soon-to-be 46-year-old added. "I can't compete against these guys right now. It's going to take a lot of work to get to where I feel like I can compete and be at a high level.
"I like competing. As I told you guys in the Bahamas, I'm not going to play a full schedule ever again. I'm going to have to pick and choose what events, and even then, my body might not cooperate with that.
"So I don't know how many events I'm going to be playing and it's going to be up to training sessions, practice sessions, recovery tactics, all those different things. I'm just so thankful to be able to do this again because it didn't look good there for a little bit."
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform covering football, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1, but he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing. He now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a handicap of 1. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
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